Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Role Model

It’s not everyday that you come across someone totally strange, whom you meet for just about five minutes and who leaves a lasting impression on your mind. An impression which makes you believe something quite opposite of what you had always ‘known’ as a fact. Such was one fortunate winter day when I was out shopping with family, hunting for jackets and coats, in one of the popular, hip South Delhi markets. My brother and I had been trying different shops and had bought a jacket each, but finding good coats was proving to be a pain in the neck. My father, as always, was in the lead, guiding us from one shop to another. Just as that, we followed him inside one of the shops with relatively larger floor area, the whole of which was, curiously enough, occupied with just blazers and coats. There was this huge variety of them and we did not know from where to start. Just then a young guy, smartly dressed in a neat suit, approached us. His kempt beard and left-ear stud added to the rich look he already possessed. He could well have been the owner of the shop or some ramp model; such was the personality he reflected. But as he spoke, I realized that, in spite of his calm, courteous manner, he was an attendant. A look around the shop and I realized that the shop kept the same high standard with its other employees as well.

Dad checked the price tag on one of the coats that caught his eye and asked my brother to try it on. My brother put on the coat, while my dad approvingly said that for 4k it seemed a coat worth the price. And then something happened which felt as if a bomb dropped. As my father spoke, the attendant was quick to point that the correct price was Rs. 40k!!! Apparently, dad had overlooked one zero. Embarrassed, my dad explained that he had misunderstood the price and frankly told him that it was beyond our budget. My immediate instinct told me that there was no need to have given the guy this honest an explanation. I was now expecting him to turn into one of those typical, high-nosed, spoilt salesmen who give you an unrelenting ‘you-don’t-belong-here’ stare in such situations. But something quite different happened. Seeing my dad uncomfortable, he spoke quickly again, but with a genuine smile this time…

“It’s perfectly fine, sir. People like me can’t afford even a 4K coat!”

And to top it all, he sounded apologetic. I was surprised. No, I must say I was pleasantly shocked.

Well, he had had many options. He could have kept quite or he could have behaved in a manner that my instinct told me he would. Or he could have gone overboard by taking sadistic pleasure in making us feel more uneasy. But he did none of these. Instead he preferred to put us at ease. And he did it in such a respectful and friendly manner, that it made it possible for us to make a decent exit from the shop a few minutes later.

I realized that there are still some people in sales business who do not just carry out their duties in a perfect professional manner but also take extra pains to ensure that the pride and honour of the customer is preserved. I don’t think I would ever forget the remarkable humility on part of this person. And yes, although not a ramp-model, he is certainly a role-model for thousands of other salesmen like him.

Kudos to you buddy!


Abhinav Sharma said...

clap clap!
i m totally agreed to your point !

varun said...

i had the pleasure of listening to this li'l experience in person from the author himself. Surely, you have added one more dimension to it with your words....

chhaya said...

thanks for reminding me that respecting the other peron still remains the most basic thing. we surely can learn from everything around us n moslty from the people whom we r least expecting from...we just need to be mindful.